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Bee Welfare & Honey Production

The part that bees play in pollination and successful fertilisation is critical to the production of quality fruit and seeds, helping to maintain genetic diversity / high biodiversity and high yields. This means that our ecosystems are more prepared to cope with changes in climate and other traumas.

Did you know?

90% of the world’s food supply comes from just 100 crops.

70% of these crops are pollinated by bees.

For a strawberry to fully develop it needs around 21 visits from bees.

In 2009, the retail value of products pollinated by honey bees was close to £1bn.

In 2009, honeybee pollination services for the UK were valued at just under £200 million a year.
In recent decades honey bee populations have been decimated, especially in Europe and the United States. In Europe 15% to 35% of honey bee colonies were lost between 1985 and 2005, while in the US this figure is even higher, standing at 60%.

What has caused this decline?

The spread of pests and diseases, the use of insecticides.

(especially neonicotinoids – some of which are subject to a temporary ban in the EU.)

Loss of natural habitat.

Demand for honey remains high and that means that intensive bee
farming methods have become widespread and that the geography
of honey production has shifted to different parts of the globe. These intensive methods are akin to factory farming. The number of commercial honey bees in Britain has declined by 45%
since 2010 and there has been a 45% increase in farmed colonies globally over the last 50 years.
In the UK 25,000 tonnes of honey are consumed each year. However just 1,500 tonnes can now be produced by British beekeepers. The rest is imported from major honey producing countries: Thailand and China (the world’s largest honey producer).

What are the issues with industrial honey production?

Bees may be subject to a variety of processes and procedures, including
artificial feeding regimes, artificial insemination, treatment with
antibiotics, inhumane transportation conditions and culling.

How can we satisfy the demand for honey and look after bee welfare?

Buy organic products.

Help support bee friendly organic agriculture.

Plant bee friendly plants in your garden.

Bees love native flowers. Choose different shaped flowers for different species of pollinators (members of the sage, daisy and pea family are loved by different bee species).

Create a bee hotel for solitary bees.

Keep the hotel clean and free from parasites.

13.5 / 20

Ethical Consumer Magazine scored Suma honey 13.5 / 20

Prior to being packaged here in the UK, the honey used in all our blends is mostly cropped by beekeeping cooperatives, often in remote areas. The importer visits the farms regularly, which goes to ensure quality practices and happy bees too!

Suma honey comes from producers who are passionate about bee welfare and are committed to high standards. Quality practices include colonies located in south facing sites with access to plentiful supplies of pollen; regular inspection of bee health; hive hygiene and disease prevention is a welfare focus and care is taken taken not to stress the bees; honey is only taken when there is enough honey produced for the bees themselves. This is not an exhaustive list. Bees are often used as a symbol of cooperation and the bees that make Suma honey are well cared for.